Tuesday, September 24, 2013
The Ills on Shake / No Front Teeth Records
When The Ills describe themselves as having 'no friends, no talent, (and) no songs over a minute and a half!' we're already on the same page. Whether its the garage punk variety or some kind of hardcore metal, it implies you respect the audience enough on the recorded format and playing live to not waste anyone's god damn time. That's something I can appreciate. No friends and no talent show's they have a sense of humor and get to putting themselves down before anyone gets a chance to. More style points for being self depreciating and I'm on their side before even putting the needle down. Here's a tight group of friends who just want to hang out and play loud and fast for their friends who aren't in the band. They take their speed and delivery very seriously however putting together a full set on two sides of a seven inch, the very thing that punk co-opted as its own from the very beginning.
Bashing drums and gritty scratched up guitars, get to work on the first track, "Get it". Erika Ebola (probably not on her birth certificate) is on distorted vocals begging and groaning in a blasted pop punk style. Pulling out all the stops, frantic and explosive she's a snarling high pitch attack machine, abandoning traditional ways of delivering a vocal to get fully in the spirit of this hardcore. This is a painful cathartic release after all. The guitar is back in the mix with a an almost jangle but as beefy as these riffs get Danny (Dysentery) manages to bend a twisty blues into the chords between the speed verse. Tommy Tinnitus (I think I have that too) bashes every track in a 4/4 kick snare loop endlessly including the crash cymbals. The four piece is intent on coming on fast and strong, probably running right into the next track "Like U done 2 Me". A revenge track in cell text title form, she lays it out getting right to the point: You made me feel like crap and I'm going to give it back. They really hit on that Ramones style guitar sound on their 53rd and 3rd single, a real classic level of distortion warmly layered behind this vocal. On "The Creeps" Erika's vocal ends every verse rising in a punk question getting into a Cramps style even. They get their most melodic here and when she gets singing the chorus it reminds me mostly of White Lung, White Murder Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
Can't forget to mention the 'oh my god' lyric which repeats in a closed loop at the end of this. Somehow they nailed it, its fits perfect and is a great example of the three steps of a locked loop. First it's awesome and you notice those great little details then it turns completely maddening and if you can make it past that second phase it starts to turn into something else completely with the repeating scratch, the creaking of the words, it doesn't make sense anymore. Is she scared or being funny? Talk about the creeps...
B-Side's "Total Dick" is about a lot of assholes, I get it. The guitars crunch away, the chorus gets into a tom thud roll and Erika rhythmes prick with dick & sick, it's like this asshole made it pretty easy. There's a great back and forth with guitarist Danny on "Yr Ugly Face" Your ugly face / reminds me how much I hate the human race. Erika's driving this jet fueled block of concrete on "Sick Fits" (and the whole record) monopolizing the energy, snarling like X-Ray Specs "Oh Bondage Up Yours!", in complete unselfconscious abandon.
Get this on purple swirl vinyl from Shake Records from our neighbors in Canada or overseas punk maniacs can get this from No Front Teeth Records.